More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 14.29%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 1 rating

Latest Reviews

MLK/FBI by alejandroariera

Locked Down by Peter Sobczynski

Eye of the Beholder by Jack Sommersby

Brazil by Jack Sommersby

Krasue: Inhuman Kiss by Jay Seaver

Shadow in the Cloud by Peter Sobczynski

Curveball by Jay Seaver

Assassins (2020) by Jay Seaver

Coded Bias by Jay Seaver

Sylvie's Love by Peter Sobczynski

subscribe to this feed

Je t'aime, je t'aime
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Jay Seaver

"Je l'aime."
5 stars

The program for this retrospective describes "Je t'aime, je t’aime" as director Alain Resnais's only science fiction film, although "Last Year at Marienbad" certainly has a certain air of the fantastic as well. It is, however, the sort of science fiction that is less interested with advances in knowledge and technology than creating a device that can make literal an emotional state, and if that's your thing, Resnais does a fine job of bringing his idea to life.

The sci-fi idea is a time machine being developed by a team of scientists as part of a top-secret project in Belgium. They have, they believe, been successfully sending mice back one year for a period of one minute, but a mouse cannot exactly report back. To undertake this risky endeavor, they recruit Claude Ridder (Claude Rich), a writer just recovered from a nearly-successful suicide attempt. When the device is activated, he disappears, but his trip into the past takes the form of being a passenger in his own mind - and after that minute revisiting a vacation with his girlfriend Catrine (Olga Georges-Picot), he does not return to the present long enough for the technicians to safely extricate him, but instead finds his consciousness bouncing along the length of that relationship at seeming random.

Perhaps this simply happens because Claude is not a mouse, but in retrospect, it may not have been the wisest decision to to give someone in Claude's state a visit to the relatively recent past. It does allow Resnais and co-writer Jacques Sternberg a chance to perhaps demonstrate what it is like to have one's mind trapped in the past, unable to escape a memory no matter how much the afflicted may want or need to. It's a metaphor that makes a lot of sense right away, and Resnais & Sternberg make the details fit, from the occasional moments of terrifying lucidity to how one's friends (represented by decent-hearted scientists with their own concerns) want to help but can't do much from the outside. There are bits that are perhaps kind of obvious, as when a scientist admits the future is more difficult to visit than the past, but others that are rather clever, like the time machine that suggests a brain, with the metallic elements plunging in perhaps an attempt to treat it with electroshock our trepanation. One imagines a young David Cronenberg seeing it and approving.

If the idea was to communicate the sensation of mental illness, it would have been dishonest to simply show it as an external thing, and both Claude Rich and Olga Georges-Picot turn in performances that present Claude and Catrine as superficially just disaffected, bored by the rest race of bourgeois post-war society, but the viewer doesn't have to scratch Catrine's surface much to find signs of a deeper depression - or that loving her reinforces Claude's own darker feelings as much as it brings him joy, even before Resnais starts spending time on moments that make those specific points. On top of that, there's something about their performances (and those of the supporting cast) that suggests memory as opposed to the real-life immediacy of the scenes in the present.

On first glance, these great performances seem to have been thrown into a blender, but for the most part Resnais and editors Albert Jurgenson and Colette Leloup have balanced the needs for chaos and narrative momentum just about as well as one could hope. There are a few stretches that may try the viewer's patience, but they are rare, and while the filmmakers seldom jump straight from cause to effect or vice versa, they make it fairly easy for that viewer to construct a timeline and fill in the blanks. Resnais also make sure that this isn't just a generic story presented in an unusual way; there's wit and occasionally arresting imagery on display. And for all that the movie is built around a sort of formal gimmick with cool, self-examining characters it's one of the more earnest movies of the French New Wave, with the characters seeming to genuinely feel emotions rather than putting them on display.

It's not going to be to everyone's taste, and does occasionally have the feeling of dabbling. The person who likes science fiction primarily for problem solving and grand scale may not be interested. If you enjoy using it as a tool to get at something else, though, this is a very good example of a filmmaker doing that - the story would be worth telling anyway, but the added effect gives the audience more to chew on.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 07/03/14 09:31:21
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

11/11/19 Mike N Good film, not resnais's best but enjoyable if you can take the hopping. Not really sci-fi 4 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum




Directed by
  Alain Resnais

Written by
  Jacques Sternberg

  Claude Rich
  Olga Georges-Picot
  Anouk Ferjac
  Alain MacMoy

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast